Convergent Products: What Functionalities Add More Value to the Base?

  • Gill T
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Convergence in the electronics sector has enabled the addition of disparate new functionalities to existing base products (e.g., adding mobile television to a cell phone or Internet access to a personal digital assistant). This research investigates the role of two factors(1) the goal congruence between the added functionality and the base and (2) the nature of the base product (utilitarian versus hedonic)on the evaluation of such convergent products (CPs). The author proposes that the evaluation of CPs with a utilitarian versus hedonic base is subject to an asymmetric additivity effect. Specifically, whereas CPs with a utilitarian base gain more from adding an incongruent, hedonic functionality than a congruent, utilitarian one, CPs with a hedonic base gain less from an incongruent, utilitarian addition than a congruent, hedonic one. This asymmetry is because hedonic additions enhance the pleasure of using a utilitarian base, whereas utilitarian additions may dilute the existing hedonic image of a hedonic base.The moderating role of prior ownership of the base of a CP is also explored. The author proposes that the effects of goal congruence are stronger for owners than for nonowners, but only for CPs with a hedonic base, not for those with a utilitarian base. The author verifies the proposed effects in an experimental study conducted with a large-scale, representative sample of the target market population. Further research on other (moderating) factors affecting the evaluation of CPs is also suggested.

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  • Tripat Gill

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